Shame is something that all present and former victims of abuse know well. Whereas other people can say, “Why did I do that? Doh!,” and shrug it off, those of us with… a more varied upbringing, shall we say, are more likely to internalize it, where it joins a big slog of unpleasant and unnecesary garbage that jointly contributes to an even greater degree of devaluation of oneself.
Shame is at the root of many personality disorders, including Borderline and Narcissistic. But it seems to me that shame in general is at the core of many self-esteem issues, and is definitely at the core of self-hatred.
People have always said I was too hard on myself, but I have had a tendency to not understand what they mean, even if it makes me feel better – that one time. (How many times have people said that to you? Has it helped?)
(To help with this article, I looked up shame in the dictionary, and the definition didn’t help me to understand it better – but you’re welcome to look it up yourself. Wikipedia had a much better description.)
I’ve made a ton of mistakes this week, and although they all have explanations, they all made me feel worse and worse about myself, rather than simply taking it as just an avenue where I need to do better. Thanks to a friend of mine (thank you Kathleen!), I was able to really start looking at shame the way *I* needed to look at it for my life.
I realized that I feel shame on a daily basis. That not only do I feel shame about how I live, how I look, and what I’ve done in my life, but I feel shame for the actions of others too. I feel shame that my dad left me. I feel shame that I was abused, especially sexually. In a freaky turn of thought, I realized that I also feel shame that I wasn’t abused more, and I feel shame that I have survived.
In fact, I think I feel shame about itty bitty even more ridiculous things too – like the fact that I hate working with gmail, or that I only call my brother once a week!!!
My shame amounts to good things to. I feel shame to have married my best friend, because I don’t feel good enough for him. I feel shame that I have no kids, and I feel shame that I’m too afraid to have kids because of the pain I’ve dealt with in my life, and the pain that’s constantly in the news. What a crock of garbage all this shame is, you know? All of this hatred isn’t what God, the universe, or a loving overall spirit would want for his daughter!
I don’t know if I can move past all this shame, and heal myself, and I don’t know if I can get beyond all of this pain to once again help others, but I’d really like to. All of this self-hatred lessens the inner me – and who can be a fully developed person while being ashamed of both the good and the bad of oneself, you know?
Sigh… there’s always so much to do on the road to self-improvement.